Who's rising and falling in this week's industry index?

To view Backchat Insider's Market Matrix in full, click on the pdf link, right.

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Biba’s Peter Staddon is well known in the insurance world, not least for being one of the few to proudly shun shaving. Rumours of his departure from Biba aside, his beard is now playing an important part in merger talks between Biba and the IIB. Apparently IIB chief exec Barbara Bradshaw is fond of teasing Staddon about his beard in meetings, to which he has said that he would shave it off if she made a donation to a charity he is involved with. And if she made a big enough donation, she could shave it off herself.

Slam dunk

Carole Nash finance director Clive Roberts recently donned his goggles to take on 178 competitors in the Dee Mile swimming race. The race took place in Chester’s River Dee, and Roberts finished in second place with a time of 22 minutes 34 seconds. Roberts has won the race twice before. I hear Michael Phelps is looking very, very worried.

Are you being served?

Fancy a spot of tennis with Virginia Wade? Brightside chief executive Arron Banks and commercial director John Gannon enjoyed a spot of tennis with Wimbledon legends past and present at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on Monday. I bet Arron and John gave those icons a good hiding on the courts.

There’s one hitch

Congratulations to UK General technical underwriting director Karen Smith, who recently tied the knot. I hear that Karen put her honeymoon plans on hold to take care of some unfinished UK General business, including making some calls to my pals on Insurance Times. In the words of Roy Castle, dedication’s what you need.

Hold your drink

I’m sure there are several of you out there who, like me, spend a lot of time attending events in the Lloyd’s building. Have you ever had the feeling that, no matter how many years you’ve been going, it’s always the same chap pouring the wine? Your mind is not playing tricks on you – it is. The rather affable gentleman in question has been working at Lloyd’s for all of the 25 years it has occupied its present location. Apparently they do let him go home occasionally.

Mobile groan

Jonathan Davey is rarely short of words, but he was silenced at last week’s Henley regatta. Taking a call on his mobile, the Keychoice Distribution managing director was reprimanded by a fierce-looking grande dame. Apparently, he’d broken the Henley rule barring mobile phone conversations in the regatta enclosure. Shhh!

The walls have ears

One of the side effects of the 25-year tenancy that Lloyd’s has on its iconic building is that, thanks to technological advances, space between the floors is now stuffed with unused cabling that badly needs clearing. Finance chief Luke Savage has apparently taken a keen interest in the management of the building as light relief from keeping the corporation’s finances in check and flying the Solvency II flag. Now we know where to look for him when battling EU bureaucrats gets too much.

Would like to Tweet …

Towergate’s Clive Nathan admits Twitter has taken over his life. The underwriting boss just can’t take his eyes off the social networking site. “Since I signed up to Twitter, my wife has refused to speak to me,” he declared. His favourite tweeters include comedian Jimmy Carr and Spurs forward Rafael van der Vaart.